Category: #mg

Slowing down

Slowing down

This past week has been one of the busiest, not just for me but for the children as well. After the rather lazy Diwali vacations we were all struggling to come to terms with our schedules. The weekend promised to be even busier what with the children’s hobby classes, a PTM to go to (which takes up all morning with some 10 to 12 teachers to be met) and two birthday parties.

My head was reeling as I tried to schedule pickup and drop timings for both the children while also trying to make a few hours to help them with their studies and also adjust the maid-timings!

My SIL called up to chat and raved about a must go-to exhibition that she’d spent three hours browsing through. She offered to accompany me if I could make time over the weekend. I am rather reluctant for such a plan on a busy weekend but this time I was sorely tempted. A quick mental check and I figured I could squeeze it in.

A little later, however, on an impulse, I cancelled the trip. Yeah I flip-flop a lot.

Sure enough, as I picked up H from his guitar class, the exhibition had lost all its charm even though barely half the day was through.

Instead of running home to let the maid in, I called and instructed her to get the keys from the neighbour and took H off for a coffee/drink at a close by cafe. I was done with the driving around. I ordered a huge Latte while he got himself a tall glass of Iced Tea. There was still an hour before N had to be picked up and so we settled down for some one on one conversation.

We talked about our tentative move to a new house next year. He said he’d miss his classmate who lived close by and we planned future play dates. We discussed his teacher’s comments at the PTM that he needed to mix with other children apart from his two closest buddies. He told me about his much-hated football coach who had been nasty yet again to another friend of his.

We got back relaxed and in good time to pick up N. Not going to that exhibition proved to be one of the best decisions I made.

There was a time I would load up my day with a list of things to do and would go through it systematically. At the end of the day the ticks on that list brought a huge sense achievement.

However, I can no longer do that.

I find I cannot go through a list of back-to-back tasks as easily as I used to. Click To Tweet

The physical effort might not be too much but the mental effort of not just planning but also of getting the children ready, the constant calling out to them, of sorting their hundred tiny disagreements and listening to and solving their myriad problems is exhausting. And so I’ve learnt to take things easy, to slow down.

As we drove back home the image that remained with me was of H carrying the tray with our drinks, his tongue stuck out as he concentrated on not letting them spill. Nothing I’d have found at the exhibition would have been as precious.

 

 

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

In search of an exercise routine

In search of an exercise routine

‘You need to exercise’, a small voice tells me as I settle down on the sofa with my glass of warm lemon water. It’s Sunday morning and exercise is the last thing on my mind.
‘But it’s Sunday’, another part of my brain argues.
‘You started going to the gym yesterday so it’s just Day 2, it’s not like you’re exhausted by a whole week of exercise’.

That’s true, of course.

I look down longingly at the newspapers on my lap and Ranjit Lal beckons me from one of the Sunday magazines.
‘The children will be up soon and there’s so much to be done…,’ I begin.
‘Half an hour,’ cuts in that other voice, ‘the children will sleep through.’

That’s true too.

It’s the last day of their Diwali vacation and they have already told me they want to spend a ‘lazy day’ as if the other days have been full of hectic activity!

Anyway, I pull on my sneakers reluctantly, then realise I’ve put the milk for boiling.
‘You can boil that later’, says the voice even before I can open my mouth to put in an excuse.

‘It’ll be crowded and there’s just one treadmill,’ I muse as I wait for the lift to come up to my floor, wondering if I should just squash that voice and go back to my sofa.
‘You can cycle or lift weights till then’ the voice is insistent.
I hold on to my resolve with every ounce of my will-power and get into the lift.

Finally, I make it to the clubhouse and find the gym empty, which is a bit of relief and not really surprising.

Forty minutes later, I am back, brimming with endorphins, to find the children still sleeping.

When did exercising become such a chore for me? I wonder as I sit down with my cup of tea.

I have exercised almost all my life. The gym has been my go-to place. I’ve tried everything there – cardio, weights, aerobics, a little bit of kickboxing, some Bollywood and Salsa too – though it all seemed the same with my two left feet and the focus was always simply on exercising.

A few years back I discovered Zumba and I thought I had found my ‘thing’. Zumba didn’t seem to mind that I had two left feet or that I had no clue what the lyrics of those songs were. I loved it and I never missed a session.

Then I injured my foot and it took a long time to heal and that was that. I moved to yoga and have been at it for almost a year. It’s fun but it doesn’t give me the high of a Zumba class or the happy sweat of a good run on the treadmill or a long brisk walk.

And that’s how I turned into a very reluctant ‘exerciser’. Weirdly enough, I find each time I leave off my exercise routine, my diet goes haywire too.

You know those people who wake up every day pledging earnestly to begin a serious exercise routine and then give up as the day wears on? Well, I have been that person for a while now. It’s been next week, next month, after the kids’ exams, after Diwali, after the holidays and so on.

Meanwhile, the weight has piled up and stamina has hit rock bottom. So finally, yet again, I started off this Saturday with a new routine. Twice I’ve taken up swanky annual gym memberships only to abandon them midway. This time I’ll stick to the one in our apartment complex – it’s small and just about functional but it has everything I need to make a start. What’s more, it’s a minute’s walk away and is open almost through the day. Like I mentioned earlier most days I have it all to myself. I’m hoping that will take care of all my excuses. Today was Day3 and I’m hoping, putting this out here will somehow strengthen my resolve to keep at it.

I’m simply aiming to keep going every day – even if it’s for half an hour.

Today is the last day of the Write tribe Problogger Challenge and I had something entirely different planned but this was so top of the mind for me I had to get it out.

Have you struggled with an exercise routine ever? How did you motivate yourself to stick with it?

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Picture credit: Pixabay

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

and with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

Make time for a one-on-one with your child

Make time for a one-on-one with your child

It was N who reminded me that one activity on her list of ‘things to do after exams’ was pending. With just a weekend left for school to reopen we are struggling to get through said list. She had labelled this activity ‘N and mama day’. That reminded me of my resolve to set aside separate ‘we time’ for each child. Despite my best intentions that hasn’t happened frequently enough.

Though we try hard to look out for both of them, they do end up sharing a lot more than just their room. Individual attention is not always possible.

Why it is so tough

Even if you have a single child you might like to think about how much time you set aside to spend with him or her alone, away from your gadgets and chores, when you give the child your complete attention doing something he or she enjoys as much as you do. With two children (or more) it becomes even more difficult to make time for each one separately.

First, there are practical issues, specially in a nuclear family like mine where another family member isn’t around to be with the other child. Then there’s the fact that H and N suffer from a huge case of FOMO only and only when the other sibling is involved. So handling the ‘why not me?’ is hard.

However, they are growing up

…which is a great thing because they’re old enough to be left alone. Their interests are becoming more defined and diverse and they’re getting less clingy.

That they still clamour for alone time with me is extremely gratifying. It also makes me ever so aware of the time when they won’t want me around at all and reminds me to make the most of this time.

We are able to hold more meaningful conversations and share deeper secrets. That makes talking-to them ever so satisfying. Oh, they have plenty of secrets to share. You’d be surprised about the things they tell me when we’re alone. I have to remind myself constantly to keep my face impassive and my comments non-committal but It really is a lot of fun.

Also, I am hoping these moments will be the building blocks for the time when they will really need advice or support for serious issues as they enter their teens.

Here are a few more reasons why a one-on-one is such a great idea.

Why one-on-one time with each of your children is a great idea Click To Tweet

It is the best time to share secrets

If I were to name one single reason for alone time this would be it. One might think siblings, specially twins, would share their deepest darkest secrets with each other. Not true. I find they open their hearts much more readily when they are alone with me. We’ve talked about troublesome teachers and bullying coaches, heartbreak over lost friendships and all kinds of real and imagined insults.

It gives them a sense of ‘self’

Since when the children were babies I’ve encouraged them to be their own selves, to not be clubbed as two parts of a whole. Alone time reinforces the fact that as a parent I appreciate them separately for what they truly are.

It is great for their self-esteem

..because for that half hour or one hour they have mine or The Husband’s complete attention. And that tells them how important they are.

It helps ease off sibling rivalry

Individual attention takes away the need for them to fight for it. Oh it’ll be ages before they admit it, even to themselves. Don’t we all grow up believing our parents love the other sibling more? However, I am hoping once they realise they don’t have to fight for our attention the edge shall wear off their rivalry.

It is extremely relaxing as a parent

..because this is the one time I can agree or disagree with that one child without worrying about appeasing the other. It’s a huge relief to focus on one child’s needs, his triumphs and failures even if it is for a little while only. Also, I’m not sure this holds for everyone but my children are the soul of decency when they’re separated from their twin. They offer to carry my bags, aren’t fussy about food, pick up thoughtful gifts for the other one and even refuse a second helping of ice-cream!

And so we’ll be heading out to the mall for some girl-time. After all that ‘Things to do after exams’ list is sacrosanct.

Do you make an effort to spend a one-on-one time with your child? What’s your favourite ‘together’ activity?

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

A happy sidekick

A happy sidekick

This past weekend I was demoted from my undisputed seat as the main villain to a very contented sidekick. But I’m getting ahead of myself – let me explain.

The children’s exams are in progress – they go on for three whole weeks. During all of that time, I transform into the main villain (or vamp, if you like to nitpick) of their lives.

With the long weekend, The Husband came home and rather unsuspectingly,  offered to help them with their Math, which he is quite good at.

Since he’s out most of the time he has no clue that being good at something and teaching that same something to two reluctant and distracted tweens who have much else going on in their lives and who do not have ‘exams’ in the top 10 or even 20 places of their priority list, are two very different things.

Anyhow not one to refuse a good thing when I see it, I handed over the reins to him with a heart full of gratitude.

It started off pretty well. The children were on their better behaviour and The Husband was all enthu too. However ten minutes into the lesson and N had already visited the washroom twice while H had his head stuck in the refrigerator complaining, ‘We never have anything interesting to eat’ – yeah, twice within ten minutes.

All the while the poor man sat twiddling his thumbs ready to walk them through their LCMs and HCFs, his enthusiasm waning rapidly. I could see where this was headed.

I hustled H back to the study table only to find he had no exercise book and his pen had run out of ink. Off he went looking for them.

Meanwhile, N was still in the washroom. ‘I think I have an upset stomach’, she announced when she finally stepped out, suspiciously redolent with talcum and cream, not at all looking like someone whose stomach wasn’t in perfect working order. When The Husband pointed out that she didn’t look unwell, she answered with profound wisdom that her stomach was not well on the inside. ‘It doesn’t show, you know,’ she explained.

H meanwhile had returned with a pen, which turned out to be N’s and if you have two children you’ll know where that is going. The LCM and HCF were quite forgotten as The Husband focussed on maintaining peace while clutching onto his fast evaporating patience.

I didn’t blame him one bit when the lid finally blew off. And at that exact moment I was displaced from my main villain’s seat and relegated to a sidekick’s place – a much-preferred sidekick with a very soft heart, I might add. Like a faithful sidekick, I thoroughly enjoyed adding my two bits here and there, ‘Listen to papa’, ‘Get your own pen, please’ and so on without raising my blood pressure one tiny notch.

Half an hour later, peace had descended, the children though sulking still, were getting along with their sums while The Husband begged me for a cup of tea because ‘his throat was all dry.’

I have to admit handling the children isn’t half as bad when one doesn’t have to do it himself/herself. In fact, it can be quite an enjoyable thing, funny even, if you’re watching the whole ‘performance’ from the sidelines.

 

PS: I didn’t even know I had a sadistic streak. I swear I had no clue till this weekend.

PSS: We still have another week to go, The Husband’s gone and I’m back in the main villain’s seat. Pray for me, please.

 

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Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

 

and with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

Finally, A Reader!

Finally, A Reader!

The other day I saw H sneaking into the washroom with a book hidden rather clumsily behind his back.

And that dear friends, was the very first sign.

After years and years of cajoling, of telling delicious stories, of quoting wondrous quotes, of strewing books around the house, of talking teasers and stopping at the best bits and also of running a book club, we have a reader in the house.

Finally, H has graduated to being a true-blue reader.

There’s a little bit of my grandma in me that forbids the children from reading in the loo. I may not throw a fit any longer (The Husband, who had no such qualms and no such a grand mom apparently, cured me long ago) but I’d much rather the children don’t make it a habit. I have to mention here that I did get them The Diary of Amos Lee (where the protagonist writes his diary in the loo). See? I was that desperate to get them to read. So perhaps I was sending out mixed signals in the first place.

However, I digress.

There was more proof coming my way. Another day H threw a huge tantrum and refused to leave his book during dinner. Yes yes I know a lot of us read while eating but that’s another bit of my grandma who insisted we were dishonouring two gods if we did that – Annapurna, the goddess of food and Saraswati, the goddess  of learning, both of who deserved undivided attention, according to her.

I’m digressing again but my grandma did talk a lot of sense, I see that now.

Getting back to H, last week at his Open House in school, his art teacher complained he wasn’t focussing on his artwork because he was in a hurry to finish and get back to his book. Art is not his favourite subject and he got his book confiscated. Twice. I stifled a smile at that, since I had mine confiscated during embroidery class!

I shouldn’t have smiled because soon after I found him lost in a book right before his Hindi exam and that wasn’t funny at all. “I finished the Chamber of Secrets,” he told me excitedly, while I struggled to decide whether to take him to task or to high-five his outstretched palm.

I find him curled up in various corners of the house, he insists on reading out the ‘best’ bits to me (which, by the way, are often the most unsavoury ones) and laughs so hard while telling me the funny bits that I can barely make out what he’s saying. It’s delightful to watch this transformation even though his timing is not quite right. But then passions never come in half measures.

He’s managed to inspire N too. She was a late starter at reading and still struggles a bit, but is all enthused and is making her way through The Philosopher’s Stone, slowly but steadily. ‘Ma I met Hermione,’ she shouted out when she first found her between the pages.

For years they were stuck with Captain Underpants and Wimpy Kid and  Dork Diaries. I am relieved they are finally graduating to ‘real’ books.

So here’s a reminder – Don’t give up on your child, ever. No matter how stubborn they might seem or how resistant, the things we do and say are getting registered somewhere in their super busy brains. And one fine day they will throw us a surprise.

Do you have a reader at home? Did your love for reading ever get you into trouble?

Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

 

and with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

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